Elliot Jay Stocks is a designer, speaker, and author. He is the Creative Director of Adobe Typekit, the founder of typography magazine 8 Faces, one half of Viewport Industries, and an electronic musician.

I’m leaving Carsonified

Posted on 20 February 2008 47 comments

Article illustration for I'm leaving Carsonified

I think most of you have heard the news by now: I’m leaving Carsonified and going solo. Before I go any further, thanks so much for all of your encouraging emails, comments, and Twitter messages that came through after the official announcement.

It’s a move that has / will come as a huge surprise to most people, and some of you may be rather puzzled: Carsonified is so well known in the industry, it might seem like a strange move to leave so soon and risk stepping out of the spotlight that hovers around the company’s movements. Well, yes, it is a risk, but one I think is worth taking. I won’t actually be leaving the company until Friday 18th April, but I thought it was best to give Ryan and Gill as long a notice period as possible because they have a baby on the way. My last day also happens to be the final day of FOWD London, so I’m hoping many of you will be able to join me for the biggest leaving party I’ll probably ever have! Woo hoo!

But why?

There are a variety of reasons why I made the decision, and I’m not going to go into them all here, but a large part of it comes down to timing. I’m now doing lots of writing work (primarily for .net / Practical Web Design magazine) and a book is also on the horizon, but all that writing in my spare time (i.e: evenings and weekends) doesn’t equate to much fun, so it’s time to make it a staple part of my ‘daytime’ work. Also, it’s just the right time to go and do my own thing… to experience the freedom of being my own boss… to do things my way… to take five hour luncbreaks. ;)

One of the other time-related reasons is to do with traveling. My girlfriend is off to the far east for a couple of months from the end of April, and I decided it would be the perfect opportunity for me to have a little adventure of my own…

… so I’m moving to Trondheim, Norway

Well, why do things by halves, eh? ;) One of my closest friends lives there and is in the process of creating an independent record label, for which I’ll be handling all design duties. He’s working with members of Jaga Jazzist (one of Norway’s biggest bands) so it should be something quite special. Trondheim is also a beautiful place and full of very friendly people (I was there last summer), so it’ll be a great temporary home, and after all, I only need my laptop and an internet connection! I’ll be in Norway from the first week of May and will return to England in the first week of July.

The future

I want to make it clear that I have no plans to start my own giant design agency. I have no desire to employ people and I certainly don’t want to end up just doing management: I am a do-er, and I’d go mad if I stopped doing design on a daily basis. Financially, I’d probably be better off if I ended up doing nothing more than overseeing the company, but that’s not my style. I’m going to be fashioning my business in the mould of friends and peers like Andy, Snook, Drew, Shaun, Jon, Bryan, Dan, etc.

That’s not to say that I’d rule out the possibility of working for another company as an employee again. Who knows? It depends what I’m doing, where I’m doing it, and if the opportunity is right. Although I’ve freelanced on the side for years, I’ve never done it full time, so I’m prepared to accept that it may not be the thing for me. Tax return, for instance, is something that terrifies me. One thing’s for sure: I’ll be blogging about it here, so you can all be kept up to date with my tedious endeavors. ;) Oh, and this site will be changing dramatically in the coming months. More on that soon!

I’d like to thank Ryan and my fellow Carsonites for having me. I’m really proud of the work we’ve done together and I hope that we might collaborate again in the future.

One last thing

The place where I was going to stay in Trondheim has fallen through, so if anyone lives there – or has friends who do – please email me! “Will design for food.”


  1. Mathew Patterson

    Mathew Patterson

    20 February 2008 @ 03:47PM #

    Hey, finally you’ll be able to implement all those excellent Web 2.0 ideas you mentioned at Future of Web Design in NY!

    You can also hang out with the Opera guys in Norway ;)

  2. Drew McLellan

    Drew McLellan

    20 February 2008 @ 03:56PM #

    Fantastic news, Elliot! A big move, but one I’m sure will be great for you. You’ve got a stacks of talent and the market is crazy busy, so the future should be bright. On the business front – find a friendly accountant to help out with the tax returns etc. Very often a good accountant will pay for themselves through the amount they can save with thorough knowledge of the tax system. Plus, it saves the worry.

    Best of luck to you – although I’m sure you’ll not need it.

  3. Jo Andrews

    Jo Andrews

    20 February 2008 @ 04:01PM #

    Ah very sad to lose you Elliot but i know you will go on to do great things! :)

  4. Sam Brown

    Sam Brown

    20 February 2008 @ 04:33PM #

    Big moves Elliot, all the best with it. Looking forward to seeing the new EJS and you mystery app that I hope doesn’t take a back seat to all of these big plans!

  5. Mel Kirk

    Mel Kirk

    20 February 2008 @ 04:41PM #

    Jelly – we’re going to miss you terribly, but I know that you’re going to be a huge success… and I expect a big shindig as soon as you return from Norway!!!

  6. Jacklyn


    20 February 2008 @ 04:55PM #

    How does it feel to know that there are so many people around the world who are waiting to see what you do next? :) I wish you the best of luck with your future endeavors. Congrats!

  7. Bryan Veloso

    Bryan Veloso

    20 February 2008 @ 05:12PM #

    Just wanted to say congrats my friend! Like Jacklyn said, myself and a lot of others are really looking forward to see what comes out of here. Maybe one of these days we could actually collaborate on something so hopefully that thought isn’t hypothetical. ;)

    Many blessings for the road ahead!

  8. Ian James Cox

    Ian James Cox

    20 February 2008 @ 05:21PM #

    I admire your guts, I say live it up whilst you are young. Not many chances to see the world!

  9. Lisa


    20 February 2008 @ 05:29PM #

    All the best for the future – I know you’re going to be a complete star! Been brilliant working with you.

  10. Ryan Carson

    Ryan Carson

    20 February 2008 @ 05:38PM #

    Hey Elliot,

    Look forward to see what you get up to in the future. I’m sure it’ll be fab! Don’t forget about that dream of living in the countryside and creating comics ;)

    All the best,

  11. Jason Milburn

    Jason Milburn

    20 February 2008 @ 05:54PM #

    Sweet man – wish you total success!

  12. JPH


    20 February 2008 @ 06:56PM #

    Congrats on the change – and good luck in whatever comes your way.

  13. Kyle Meyer

    Kyle Meyer

    20 February 2008 @ 07:12PM #

    Best of luck Elliot, and make sure to enjoy your travels.

  14. Mark Boulton

    Mark Boulton

    20 February 2008 @ 07:34PM #

    Congratulations on the big step, Elliot. Looking forward to seeing more of your work in the coming months.

  15. Lisa


    20 February 2008 @ 07:37PM #

    Best of luck! I’m looking forward to seeing what you do.

  16. Levi Figueira

    Levi Figueira

    20 February 2008 @ 07:58PM #

    Wish you the best of lucks… not that I believe in luck! ;)

    You’re on to some major lifestyle changes, and with you being a “do’er” it might look tough at times! But loving what you do is the key for succeeding and I’m pretty sure that’s not a problem!

    Enjoy you’re time in Norway, but above all, enjoy your next few months at Carsonified while getting ready for the big leap!

    Have a great day! :)

  17. Al Power

    Al Power

    20 February 2008 @ 07:59PM #

    Best of luck – am sure you’ll have a blast in Norway! Look forward to following your tales of self-employment via your blog!

  18. Martin Weiss

    Martin Weiss

    20 February 2008 @ 08:21PM #

    Bless you for pushing yourself to new limits.

    And Norway is a great place to live. I moved here 7 years ago, and have never regretted it. Lovely people, phantastic landscapes and long, long summmernights.

    Good luck (and if you should ever come to Hamar, you are welcome to drop by ;) )

  19. Tor Máhtte Eira Mathisen

    Tor Máhtte Eira Mathisen

    20 February 2008 @ 08:39PM #

    Damn, I was waiting for an update on this blog, but nothing like this one. Oh, and Trondheim truly is one of the most beautiful place in Norway, and I’ve been allover Norway. Good luck with your new adventure. Hope you find a place to stay in Trondheim.

  20. Keith


    20 February 2008 @ 08:49PM #

    Hey man – if you ever do get the hankering to work for another company, give me a call. In the meantime, once you’re available, give me a shout, I’d love to take advantage of your “freelance” status when your ready.

  21. Olav


    20 February 2008 @ 10:34PM #

    Good luck, I’m sure you’ll have quite an adventure.

    Looking forward to some vivid CSS discussion over a couple of beers. :)

  22. Adam


    20 February 2008 @ 10:38PM #

    Best of luck and like others, looking forward to seeing what you get up to as a freelancer.

  23. kevadamson


    21 February 2008 @ 01:47AM #

    Good luck mate!

    From what I’ve seen, read and heard from you already, your “creative doings” will only gain you more kudos and success.

    All the best (’’,)

  24. Matt Brett

    Matt Brett

    21 February 2008 @ 06:32AM #

    Indeed, congrats are in order. Good luck with the move as well.

    I hope everything works out for you, Elliot.

  25. cvander


    21 February 2008 @ 09:00AM #

    You’ll do great with the new project. I could use your help for some designs so let us know when you’re up and running. Take care.

  26. Jeremy


    21 February 2008 @ 12:07PM #


    now we have one more reason to party in London ;-)

  27. Sam Hardacre

    Sam Hardacre

    21 February 2008 @ 01:04PM #

    As I said over at Carsonified, I hope it takes off (and am sure it will). Definitely looking forward to seeing what you have in store for this site : )

  28. Riccardo


    21 February 2008 @ 04:00PM #

    You Master Elliot have definitely changed my way to think at the web.

    Now I’m kind of more happy because I’m sure you will express better your talent in music, graphic and web.

    Again, good luck man and hope to meet you in april :)

  29. Paul Annett

    Paul Annett

    21 February 2008 @ 04:08PM #

    Congratulations on the leap you’re making to freelance! I spent four years in exactly that position before joining Clearleft, so I know it well. Don’t be fooled into thinking your time will be your own! Look forward to working odd and long hours… though it is enjoyable to the boss for a change.

  30. Jonny Haynes

    Jonny Haynes

    21 February 2008 @ 04:24PM #

    All the best Elliot! Good luck with whatever your future may hold. Have fun in Norway ( what a beautiful place). Keep us all informed on your future endevours – I’m sure you will!

  31. Umar Salman

    Umar Salman

    21 February 2008 @ 08:44PM #

    Yes Elliot, if I can get big time clients like Chanel, so can you man! Congrats!

  32. Tony Xia

    Tony Xia

    22 February 2008 @ 01:51PM #

    “Also, it’s just the right time to go and do my own thing… to experience the freedom of being my own boss… to do things my way… to take five hour luncbreaks.” That is exactly how I feel right now.

  33. bryan


    22 February 2008 @ 02:01PM #

    Elliot – best of luck to you. Big fan of Ryan & the Carsonified crew, and always been a fan of your design and insight. Would LOVE to collaborate on UI designs…help you cover rent in one of the most expensive cities on the planet.



  34. Elliot Jay Stocks

    Elliot Jay Stocks

    22 February 2008 @ 08:00PM #

    I’ve been completed overwhelmed by the messages from everyone – thank you so much for all your kind words!

    @ Drew: Thanks for the accountant advice; I’ve heard the same from many other people and so I’ve got someone in mind. I think I’d happily pay for some one to do tax returns even if they did cost more than the money they save!

    @ Jo / Mel / Lisa / Ryan: I’ll miss you guys too!

    @ Sam Brown: Ah, the mystery project isn’t an app – I’ll give that much away! It’s a site, but also more than a site. It has something to do with the book too… hmmm… could I be more cryptic? ;)

    @ Jacklyn: You know, I really hadn’t thought about it like that! I guess that feels kind of daunting… but also very flattering, of course. :)

    @ Keith: I most certainly will!

    @ Olav: See you in Trondheim!

    @ Paul: I appreciate the advice and I’m prepared for the long hours, although I certainly hope they’ll be shorter then the times in the past where I’ve been working full-time and freelancing; that was not fun! It’s interesting, though, that the long hours thing is kind of expected when you freelance, because surely that’s not how it should be, right? I have some plans to counteract that, which I’ll be explaining here in a little while.

  35. Viktor


    22 February 2008 @ 08:11PM #

    I wish you all the best in the future and hopefully everything will be like you expect.

  36. Josh Stodola

    Josh Stodola

    22 February 2008 @ 08:40PM #

    You’re living the dream! I am sure you made the right decision and you will love your newfound freedom (and probably have more success than before).

    “Will design for food”

    LOL, very good way to end the post :)

  37. Stevie K

    Stevie K

    22 February 2008 @ 09:16PM #

    Good luck, Elliot! Can’t wait to see some of your new freelance work and the new site design as well.

    I swear I get more excited by new site designs than I do about Christmas, that’s not healthy is it?

  38. Ruth


    23 February 2008 @ 06:11PM #

    Wow. I saw your mention of leaving on Twitter first and I just wanted to wish you much luck for starting a new segment of your working life. It’s a little scary, but what isn’t? When you change things, you do it big, don’t you? Moving, too? Go for it. Good luck.

  39. Chris A

    Chris A

    25 February 2008 @ 03:38AM #

    Awesome plans Elliot. Working for yourself is the only way to go. The stability of a day job can put your mind at ease, but the monotony can drive you to madness — not that I’m a good example of staying on that path ;) You’ll find yourself working more hours for less money, but as you mentioned, the five hour lunches (aka Freedom) will more than make up for that. In the end it’s all about you getting the work done on time and making your clients happy — I know you’re plenty capable of this.

    Find yourself a good business partner and stay with the creative side of things. It’s impossible to do it all — this is something that I can speak to out of experience.

    Anyway, the best of luck and keep in touch.

  40. Shane


    28 February 2008 @ 09:13PM #

    Congratulations – I’m sure you won’t regret it. Once again, I’ll say it – this site is absolutely gorgeous.

  41. Tarun


    29 February 2008 @ 09:38AM #

    Good luck. I am a recent reader of your blog and I greatly admire your designs.

  42. Mat


    07 March 2008 @ 11:56AM #

    That’s a real shame. I love the way that Carsonified has developed its identity.

    Still, does this mean that you can do some freelance work for us now? :-)

  43. Thiago Horta

    Thiago Horta

    02 April 2008 @ 09:18PM #

    Man, you have to update your description on the top of site “Elliot is senior designer at Carsonified bla bla bla”


    i’m a full time freelancer and i hope you enjoy your free time as much as i do :D

  44. doodlebot


    04 April 2008 @ 01:55AM #

    Best of luck indeed Elliot. Design will always be needed to deliver the content and you certainly seem to be prolific in the both, there’s no looking back :)

  45. Wallace Rodrigues

    Wallace Rodrigues

    08 April 2008 @ 10:11PM #

    Hi Elliot,

    Jupiter is a planet that has a lot of influence on us when it comes to astrology. It takes 28 years to go around the Sun, and therefore it hits the same spot it was when we were born after approx. 28 years. Some people begin to see changes already at 27, your current age. Norway changed my life a lot after I completed 28, when I dropped my monk robes and got married. I’m still living here, and things only got better.

    I hope Norway will bring some exciting changes to you too. If you need a place to stay in Oslo, just drop by. Me and my wife are big admirers of your work ;)


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